Sunday, November 15, 2009

♪♫ Online Christmas Boutique ♪♫ ~Day 1~

♪♫ Make sure to run on over to and do some holiday shopping to support a hard-working Christian Mom and start crossing things off your list!
You'll find $5, $10, $20 Gifts and stocking stuffers.
And the best part? ...

Today's featured Christian Mom is Arlene Gianelli with Discovery Toys
Arlene's favorite family Christmas Recipe:

Maraschino Cherry Bread

This is one I found in a magazine 28 years ago (still have the magazine) I make this every year, and give it as gifts. One year I even entered it into our county fair.

1 jar (16 oz) maraschino cherries
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dice cherries and reserve cherry juice. Beat sugar and eggs together and add cherries, coconut and nuts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add flour mixture and cherry juice alternately to egg mixture. Pour into two greased and floured 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pans . Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Makes two loaves.
♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ Christmas Notes from Arlene ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
As we enter into the season of the year when we do most of the toy shopping for our children, there are a few things to keep in mind as we shop. Most of us feel our kids have too many toys. In most cases this is partly true. If we take a good look at what our kids own, a lot of it can be eliminated by doing a good toy sort. After removing broken toys, games with missing pieces, toys that have been outgrown, or are not age appropriate, it is time to look at what is left. Organize toys in ways that make clean up time easier. Children are more apt to put things in their place if everything has a place.
Once you have sorted through all the toys and kept only the ones that are age appropriate and that your child still plays with and enjoys, you may discover that what is left does not provide a healthy play diet. Just as a healthy body needs foods from all food groups, a child needs toys from several learning pathways. Make sure to include books, toys that promote active play, thinking/problem solving toys, creative/imagination toys, games, puzzles& pattern toys, and sensory/exploration toys.
You may discover that you have specific areas that are not being met. It is much easier to shop for toys with specific needs in mind, than to be drawn to catchy box designs or advertising. Here are a few tips for when you are shopping for toys:

How to make a carefully selected purchase for your child

One carefully selected toy, book, or game can create learning moments that last a lifetime. The right item brings joy, raises your child’s self-esteem and helps create a learning environment that is as positive as it is priceless.

When making your choices, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Can my child play with this toy in several different ways?

2) Is the toy powered by my child’s imagination?

3) Will my child be engaged for more than just a few minutes?

4) Does this product offer genuine learning opportunities?

5) Will this product grow with my child’s developmental stages?

6) Is this product safe, fun, durable and attractive?

In these economic times, it is more important than ever to make sure that our toy dollars are spent wisely. Eliminating the clutter, assessing what is left, and then purchasing toys that will last through several developmental stages is a great way to save money this holiday season.

Be sure to check out Discovery Toys. We offer the highest quality books, toys, and games available that engage children in the love of learning. Multiple layers of play are crafted into each toy we develop.

Today's Giveway:

A $10 Gift Certificate to use with ANY of the Mom Businesses on!

To Enter:
Leave a comment on this blog along w/ a way for us to contact you.

(IMPORTANT: leave a comment for EACH task you complete!)

1. Add Arlene Gianelli as a friend on facebook and comment about it back here

2. Follow Arlene on twitter: @Toymommy2001

3. Tweet this on twitter: RT @MariLeeParrish Enter to win a $10 Christmas Shopping Gift Certificate!

4. Find your favorite recipe or tip on our website and comment about it back here

5. Follow this blog!

6. Become a facebook fan of ( )

7. Make a purchase on our Online Christmas Boutique and receive 10 extra entries!!!!!

Would you like to win an INSTANT Mommy Bag full of goodies??
add our Christmas Boutique button to your blog! (To do this, copy our holiday boutique button on the sidebar and paste it in your blog. Make sure you link it back to )
Every mom who does this will receive an automatic prize. To claim your Mommy Bag, You must e-mail me at with your name and a link to where the button is posted. Your links are checked randomly throughout the month. Our button must appear on your site the day we check your links to qualify for the Mommy Bag.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday 11/22/09 at 10:00pm MT. Winner will be announced and e-mailed Monday a.m


  1. Marilee, I'm so glad that your Christmas Boutique is underway! Yeah!

  2. added Arlene as a friend on facebook

  3. Follow toymommy2001 on twitter

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I, of course being a buckeye love Ohio Buckeyes!! Go Bucks! And what a nice win in overtime yesterday against the Hawkeyes. Hello, Rose Bowl!

  6. Retweeted on @vwalkermk
    RT @MariLeeParrish Enter to win a $10 Christmas Shopping Gift Certificate!

  7. I'm excited about the Online Christmast Boutique! Great idea for daily give-aways!

  8. Already a fan on facebook of!!

  9. I already follow this blog :) And love it!

  10. I sent a friend request to Arlene on Facebook!

  11. Following Arlene on Twitter! You can find her under my "working moms" list @VWalkerMK/working-moms

  12. Favorite Recipe:
    Bon Bon Kisses

    1 package Semisweet Chocolate Chips
    1/4 cup butter
    14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    30 Milk Chocolate Candy Kisses
    30 Chocolate Striped Candy Kisses,
    2 Ounces White Chocolate Chips

    Preheat oven to 350'. In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter; cook and stir over very low heat until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk; mix well. Combine flour, chocolate mixture and vanilla; mix well. Shape 1 tablespoonful of dough around each candy kiss, covering completely. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350'F for 6 to 8 minutes. Don’t overbake! Remove from cookie sheets and let cool. Melt White chocolate chips in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cookies with a fork. Store in covered container. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

    From Christmas at Home: Cookie Lover's Cookbook by MariLee Parrish ©Barbour Publishing

    Can't wait to try it!!

  13. How fun! Thanks for all the great tips. I'll be adding the button tomorrow, and I'll email ya. :)

    thesweetestpetunia AT gmail DOT com

  14. I tweeted about this giveaway.

  15. I added Arlene as a friend on Facebook.

  16. I follow this blog.

  17. I am already a fan of

  18. Marilee, the Online Boutique is awesome. So easy to shop! I wish I could have participated in it.

  19. Love your Online Boutique! Very reasonable prices!!

  20. Follow Arlene on twitter- Nadddez.

  21. Follow blog. (please follow me)

  22. Facebook fan. (Quanda)

  23. I'm so excited about all these giveaways!!! Time to get to entering them all! :D

  24. Tweet :)

  25. My favorite tip is to buy your Christmas gifts from Christian Moms!!

  26. I have your Christmas Boutique Button! AND I just joined a mommy group here and might need some mommy bags soon :D but I'm not sure yet so I'll let you know!

  27. Just found your site from SITS...LOVE IT!!! New at this giveaway stuff...but sign me up!

  28. Tweeted @

  29. I would love to win this. This would be a great stocking stuffer!


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